If you are carving a pumpkin or two for Halloween this year, save the scooped-out flesh for one of these bewitching recipes. Any of them would be perfect for a party or as a seasonal side dish.
In general, the flesh of smaller pumpkins is more tender. Whole pumpkins can be stored at room temperature for as long as one month. But once you read these recipes, I’m betting your pumpkins won’t last that long.
This is a most unusual dessert recipe from “Cooking Secrets of the CIA” (Culinary Institute of America); makes 6 to 8 servings.
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
6 cups apple cider
Vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup unshelled pumpkin seeds, toasted*
In a large bowl, use an electric hand mixer to combine pumpkin puree, milk, sugar, salt and spice until well blended. Stir in the flour and baking powder to make a soft dough that just holds its shape on a wooden spoon.
Preheat oven to 200 F. In a medium saucepan, heat cider to a gentle boil. Form dough into tablespoon-size nuggets. Drop 6 to 8 dumplings into simmering cider. Cook until they rise to the surface, then remove with a slotted spoon to a baking pan. Cover with a damp cloth and place pan in oven while cooking remaining dumplings in batches. Serve warm dumplings with ice cream if desired, and top with toasted pumpkin seeds. Makes 25 to 30 dumplings, for 6 to 8 servings.
*To toast pumpkin seeds: spread cleaned and dried seeds on a baking sheet. Toast in preheated 350 F oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned and beginning to release their aroma.
A quick bread that makes a great sandwich (think spicy sausage or pork) or unique brunch item. Recipe from “Dining for Two” by Weight Watchers; makes about 10 servings.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree
One 8.5-ounce jar mango chutney, large pieces chopped
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 large egg
2 egg whites
1/3 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine first eight ingredients. In a separate small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; stir with a rubber spatula just until blended. Pour batter into the pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 60 to 70 minutes. Cool bread in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.
Onions and apples in a pumpkin
A novel way to enjoy seasoned pumpkin meat, this easy recipe is from “The Healing Foods Cookbook” by the editors of Prevention magazine. Makes 4 servings.
1 small pumpkin (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2 large onions, minced
1 large apple, minced
1/2 teaspoon dill
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cut top off pumpkin and set aside. Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds. In a medium bowl, mix onions, apple, dill and 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Spoon mixture into pumpkin, cover with the top. If top has a stem, cover the stem with foil so it won’t burn. Put pumpkin in a baking dish and bake in preheated 350 F oven until pumpkin is tender, about 2 hours. Open pumpkin; sprinkle with remaining cheese. To serve, scoop out cooked pumpkin with filling.
This easy recipe relies on fresh pumpkin puree, which you can make by placing pumpkin flesh on a baking sheet, covering it loosely with foil, and baking for 20 to 30 minutes until soft when pricked with a fork. Let the pumpkin cool, then puree in a food processor. It will keep in the refrigerator, covered, up to five days. Makes 6 servings.
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups orange juice
2 cups fresh pumpkin puree
One 10.5-ounce can chicken broth, plus 1 can of water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fresh or dried dill
1 cup light cream or half and half
In a large saucepan, melt butter and saute onion until soft. Add orange juice, pumpkin flesh, chicken broth, water and spices. Stir until smooth. Simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Pour mixture into blender and blend for one minute. (Cover lid with a towel and hold down firmly.) Return to saucepan; stir in cream and cook on low heat until hot. Garnish with dill.
Gratin of pumpkin
Pumpkin with cheese makes a savory side dish. You can assemble the gratin a day ahead and store, covered, in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before baking. Recipe from “Food & Wine’s Holiday Favorites,” makes 8 servings.
4 pounds of pumpkin, made into puree (see recipe above)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
6 eggs, beaten to mix
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pureed pumpkin, the cream, milk, nutmeg, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Taste; add more salt and pepper if needed. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the Swiss cheese. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish; sprinkle Parmesan on top. Set dish in a larger pan and add enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake until gratin is set, about 40 minutes, or 20 minutes if using individual gratin dishes. Serve warm.